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ARM® TechCon™ 2012: Samsung's John Kalkman Gives Keynote Address

December 03, 2012

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John Kalkman

ARM® TechCon™ 2012 hosted numerous presentations relating to the future of mobile application processors (APs) and the mobile solutions industry as a whole. John Kalkman's keynote address on Wednesday, Oct. 31 focused on the future of Samsung and the "Super Devices of Tomorrow." In case you missed his presentation, we reviewed his key points and their implications for the future.

Enabling the Super Devices of Tomorrow

After being welcomed on stage, John Kalkman , VP of marketing for Samsung System LSI, opened a keynote address that covered current updates about Samsung, key mobile trends, the product roadmap and the company's presence at TechCon, among other topics. Kalkman touched on Samsung's ongoing leadership in the component market, which includes memory, image sensors and the mobile AP business, most notably. The company continues to invest in significant research and development in this area, with exciting advancements on the horizon.

2012 mobile trends bode well for Samsung System LSI given that the tablet market is growing exponentially and the smartphone market is predicted to exceed 1 billion units in volume by 2014. Strides in display technology have brought WXGA resolution tablets firmly into the $200 or less segment, noted Kalkman, while higher res devices supporting up to WQXGA (think Exynos-powered Google Nexus 10 ) make up the other end of the spectrum. In fact, Samsung is currently the only company shipping mobile processors that support such a high display resolution and include the larger memory bandwidth required for a smooth display. The company's investment in leading-edge display technology is likely to pay off given Kalkman's prediction that this component will be a major factor affecting tablet sales moving forward.

The vice president of marketing also spoke about ARM®'s big.LITTLE processing technology and why Samsung has chosen to invest in it. This architecture relies on switching tasks between high-power and low-power processor cores depending on performance requirements. Tasks such as high-res gaming and web browsing are run by high-power processors, while less intensive tasks, such as composing a text message, are handled by low-power processors. This serves as a great example of how to get power and performance when you need it, and to avoid using it when you don't, so as to optimize performance while preserving power stores. Samsung is also investing in many other technologies, like High K Metal Gate, and is dedicated to ultimately reaching 14nm using FinFET.

Other advancements have been made that contribute to power-efficiency in unexpected ways. Improvements in GPU performance are providing ways to perform advanced processing at a lower power. With ARM®'s General-Purpose computing on GPU (GPGPU), Samsung will be able to provide an upgrade of two times the GPU performance each year. By delegating work to the GPU and GPU compute, the system can alleviate some of the CPU's workload and preserve power as a result.

Samsung's product roadmap focused on the Cortex™-A15 Exynos 5 Dual processor. This processor is the latest in the Exynos chip series to be utilized in end user devices and benefits from significant performance gains thanks to its OpenCL-compliant ARM® Mali™ T-604 GPU. Designed for a perfect, high-res experience and ideal for mobile gaming support, you'll find the Exynos 5 Dual at the core of the Google Chromebook and Google Nexus 10. Kalkman also highlighted Samsung's recent release of the Exynos 5 Dual-powered Arndale Board, which will be covered in detail in a future blog post. Next in the works for Samsung is the thinnest tablet on the market today, the Quanta development tablet, which is now ready for production. Those in the industry interested in achieving this tablet's slim dimensions with their own devices can now use the Quanta tablet to analyze form factors and required components.

Kalkman tied everything together by explaining Samsung's ability to offer the total mobile solution package. With Exynos mobile APs, NFC, power management, companion PMIC and memory solutions all under one roof, Samsung System LSI is uniquely qualified to build a mobile system from the ground up at a lower cost than many of its competitors. Exynos represents an integral part of this total mobile solution. In an effort to support the best devices on the market, Exynos continues to work toward more advanced nodes of fabrication. Relying on FinFET and TSV technology, the company is looking forward to reaching the 28-14nm range of production. Kalkman noted that Samsung has a strong track record for releasing ARM®-based Exynos processors in quick succession, so these types of advancements are a top priority.

A video of Kalkman's keynote is now available in its entirety. We'll be covering more presentations and sponsored sessions from ARM® TechCon™ in subsequent posts. If you still have questions, feel free to tweet them @SamsungExynos!

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